Rant with Randi: Freedom of Speech


Colin Kaepernick, who else? I’ve thought about his protest more than just about anything else lately. When I first saw the image of Colin Kaepernick sitting during the National Anthem, it infuriated me. My first thoughts were all negative. Especially since I’m at football games every Friday night, and when someone sings the National Anthem, it’s just as emotional as the first time I heard it. How dare he? Who does he think he is? If he hates it here so much he should leave. He makes millions off of “The man who oppresses those he’s standing up for,” so let’s stop paying him.

Then a few days went by, and I started to look at the situation differently. I thought about the reason our men and women are fighting for us, is so we have the ability to speak freely. In another part of the world, we could get beheaded for protesting something as sacred as the equivalent of our National Anthem. So isn’t it great that we live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave? I started to rationalize in my mind, that perhaps Colin doesn’t feel that that flag represents what he wants it to. We certainly can’t deny that there has been a lot of killing of young black men recently. I still can’t get the images of the protest in North Carolina out of my head. None of this is good. And unless we walk in their shoes, and unless we are young black men who feel the wrath of the police brutality, we honestly can’t stand here and say we understand, because if we are white, we don’t. So I gave Colin the benefit of the doubt for a few days.

But then my common sense kicked back in and I remembered that white parents raised Colin. Colin, is one of the very lucky few, who have the opportunity and the talent, (well that’s debatable), to play in the NFL. Colin makes millions of dollars and certainly hasn’t been oppressed economically. He says, in an exclusive interview with the NFL, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”

Perception is reality, and this is how Colin perceives the world he lives in. But here’s where it stops making sense. We (the public), pay millions of dollars each year, to watch football. We buy tickets, jerseys, and hats, bobble heads, video games, etc. to support the NFL. We attend games, we cheer for you and best of all, we make memories with our family. To watch Sunday games with my children, and have to explain why Colin or any other player, who is now joining in this protest of our National Anthem, is outrageous. We aren’t watching football to see you protest the flag and our military. We are paying you to entertain us. If you feel so strongly about “Black oppression,” do something about it, but don’t do it while you’re playing a sport that we, the public, are paying to see. Go into the communities and help the poor black kids to get educated. Go big Colin. Build a school or several schools. Buy computers and iPads for every kid in the projects. Start community outreach programs and organize youth sports for these kids to show them a better way out. If you want to be in the news so badly, it should be for something positive, which will hopefully inspire others to do the same. Get all your NFL buddies to join you to help stop the cycle of poverty and violence.

Listening to Roger Goodell getting interviewed pissed me off. Hey Roger, show a little backbone and fine the players if they disrespect our flag and our military. I know about freedom of speech, but you are a privately-owned company and you make the rules. Let these players sit in the locker room during our National Anthem, and come out when it’s game time. Better yet, don’t let them play if they sit during the National Anthem.

What say you? Email me at www.randiccrawford@gmail.com.